James Cain was interviewed on the Danish TV show Deadline recently and expressed his views on how Denmark should deal with the Muslim minority. He doesn't want to get involved in Danish internal politics, but his suggestion to Danish leaders: go visit a mosque.
The American ambassador to Denmark, James Cain, aplauded Jan Boye, Odense's mayor, for visiting the city's mosque. The mayor had visited the mosque about a month ago, and had now lost the support of the Danish People's Party on the city's council.
According to newspaper BT, the ambassdor is surprised that the Danish prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, never visited a mosque. The ambassador thinks it can be of great positive significance if the country's most powerful people meet the minorities.
Odense's deputy mayor, Alex Ahrendtsen, of the Danish People's Party says that it's good taht the ambassador is going home to the USA.
Imran Khan, spokesperson for the Islamic Faith Society in Denmark (IFS) says that Rasmussen promised already in 2005 to visit a mosque, as soon as he had time. But three years later, he still hadn't answered the invitation from the IFS.
She says they would love to have the prime minister for a visit and would love to send him an invitation, if that's what's missing. They would like to see Rasmussen come and meet with them, just like he meets other groups in the country and they are part of Denmark so it will be natural. In this way they can actively participate in the democratic debate and like all other citizens try to affect the decisions with their points of view.
In September 2005 Rasmussen conducted "dialog-meetings" at Marienborg with several prominent Muslims, and told them that he would like to visit a mosque 'as soon as the calendar allows it'. The high profile meetings at the official prime minister's residence was meant to prevent radicalization of Danish Muslims, but three years later Rasmussen has yet to visit a mosque.
Though James P. Cain stressed he needed to be indirect in his call to Rasmussen, he emphasized the value of having a state leader meet the minorities in this way and show that "Islam isn't our enemy". Two days after the World Trade Center's twin towers were destoryed by planes hijacked by al-Qaeda, US president George W. Bush went to a mosque.
The colorful ambassador, who would soon leave Denmark as the US elected a new president, had worked hard to meet young Muslims and other minority groups in Denmark since he came to the country in 2005. He himself went to a mosque and played basktball with young disaffected Muslims.
Sources: DR, Kristeligt-dagblad (Danish)